Soviet Red Air Force attacks on Helsinki and other Finnish cities were very limited during the Winter War (1939-40) despite the enormous size of the Red Air Force, the largest air force in the world. Far more Soviet attacks occurred during the Continuation War (1941-44), although again rids were fairly limited given the size of the Red Air Force. This was primarily because the Luftwaffe did such a thorough job of destroying the Red Air Force in the opening phase of Barbarossa (June 1941). As the Soviets rebuilt the Red Air Force, their primary focus was on the German Whermacht. The Soviets bombed Helsinki 39 times during the Continuation War. Most were small scale attacks causing only limited damage. They killed 245 people and wounded 646. These were very small numbers in World War II terms. The primary Red air Force effort was in 1944 and aimed at knocking Finland out of the war so the Soviets could focus on the Germans.
Stalin wanted to force the Finns out of the war and break the alliance with the Germans. The Finns desperatly wanted to retain the territory the Soviets had seized during the Winter War. The primary strategic bombing campaign of World War II was the Allied bombing of the Reich. The Soviets did not participate in this to any significant extent. The Red Air Force had only a small bomber fotce. The Soviets, however, did bomb Finland. The Red Army began intensive bombing of Helsinki along with German occupied Tallin in Estonia. The Finns were prepared for the air raids. The whole idea of bombing Finnish cities was sensitive give the criticism aroused during the winter war. The Allies were providing the Soviets vast quantities of war material which Stalin did not want emperiled. Allied attitudes toward bombing changed with the Blitz and by the time of the Tehran Conference (November-December 1943), the Allies had begun the sytematic distruction of Germany's war ecomnomy which was largely located in the cities. The Allies accented to the Soviet bombing of Finland. Stalin ordered the largest Soviet raids of the War (February 6–7, 16-17 and 26-27, 1944).
The Finns sucessfully deceived Soviet pathfinders leading the bimber streams. Here The Soviets had only limited experiebce with strategic bombing. Their primary focus was on tactical operations supporting the Red army. The Finns pursued
various tactics. They lit fires on the islands beyond the city. and they only used the bomber locvating searchlights operated wuth anti-aircradt guns to the east of the city. Both tactics dislocated the Red Air Force pathfinders and a large part of the Soviet bombs missed Helsito believe that it was the city. Only 530 bombs fell within the city itself. The majority of the population of Helsinki. This combined with the city's bomb shelters limited civilian casualties. The impact of the Soiviet bombing may have been to strengthen Finnish resistance.
In end it was the Soviet distruction of German Army Group Center as part of Operation Bagration (June-July 1944) and realization that the Germans had lost the War that finally forced the Finns to seek an armitice with the Soviets.
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